Tash Aw was born in Taipei, grew up in Malaysia, and now lives in London. His first book, <em>The Harmony Silk Factory</em>, won the Whitbread Award for First Novel and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, preachers serve as spiritual guides for their flocks, but what happens when a preacher loses his own faith? We'll talk with one man who knows what that's like in just a few minutes. But first, anthropologists and archaeologists, of course, study the way that groups live throughout history.
The other day my 14-year-old asked me whether I would re-live my teen years for $1 million. The answer was a resounding "No!" Memories of searing humiliation still lurk in my (scarred) subconscious. The senior prom alone could keep me chatting with a psychiatrist for months. (Even though, from what I've heard, my date is happily out of the closet and a very successful interior decorator. All's well that ends well, right?) At this point, those memories should be a funny, rosy glow far in the distance. Ha.
World-class snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a brutal 2009 crash captured by cameras he and his teammates were wearing. His road to recovery — and to a new sense of self — is the central narrative thread of the documentary <em>The Crash Reel.</em>
Credit HBO Pictures
High-energy footage evokes the thrills viewers crave from watching extreme sports — and suggests the audience's complicity in the crashes and injuries that are the inevitable cost.
"You need to be prepared for the Kevin who comes back not to be the same Kevin."
That's what a doctor told the parents of snowboarder Kevin Pearce following the brain injury he suffered in late 2009, while training for the Vancouver Olympics.
Those words, simple but painful for a parent to hear, are essentially what Lucy Walker's moving documentary, The Crash Reel, is about: the way traumatic brain injuries — wounds that, after recovery, can seemingly be invisible — leave their victims no choice but to be different people.
Artisanal food fever is raging, and the latest sign is the rise in sales of old-fashioned butter churns.
Purveyor Glenda Lehman Ervin of Lehman's sells old-timey kitchen gadgets online and at her family's store in Kidron, Ohio. She says the clientele is quite diverse. "There are lots of people interested," she says.
It's not just homesteaders, hipsters and do-it-yourself-minded foodies getting in on the hands-on pursuit.
Some of the greatest summer food experiences take you outside. Whether it's shucking corn and barbecuing or spitting watermelon seeds, an outdoor setting can add a whole new dimension to food.
Bill Smith, chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C., says some of his favorite summer food memories took place at picnic tables over messy bowls of his grandmother's crab stew. He shared a recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
If you've ever visited the Statue of Liberty, she's no doubt loomed large above you, but gaze at the statue's pedestal and you'll find Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus." Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
My colleague, Robert Siegel, is off today for the holiday. But, we're going to return with him now to a thrilling day of yesteryear. Yesteryear being five years ago. That's right it's a shameless re-run. And our excuse is the new "Lone Ranger" movie, which has opened to mixed reviews. The old TV show, which aired in the 1950s, was a favorite of Robert's when he was a boy. So, for our 2008 series, In Character, Robert marked "The Lone Ranger's" 75th anniversary.
If you haven't heard the buzz — or maybe it's the fizz — handmade sodas have been experiencing a full-on revival over the past few years. Whether they're mixed at home with a Soda Stream-like device or made at an old-fashioned soda fountain, the rise of homemade sodas has been driven by a general shift toward less-processed foods.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are chart-topping rap sensations. In a special rebroadcast, they sat down last year with guest host Celeste Headlee to talk about their latest album 'The Heist' a few months before their fame hit its biggest heights.
Cathleen Schine can always be counted on for an enticing, smart read, and her latest novel, Fin & Lady, is no exception, but it's an odd duck, as quirky as its peculiarly named titular half-siblings. Neither as sparklingly funny as her most recent book, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, nor as brainy as her earlier Rameau's Niece, Fin & Lady is light, entertaining, and ultimately moving, butyou can't help wondering what Schine hoped to achieve with it.
Dash Shaw is a graphic novelist and animator whose previous books, including Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, seethe with dark, mischievous intent. He sets out to unsettle, using the unique tools the comics medium provides to expose discomfiting truths about relationships both familial and romantic. A proud experimentalist, Shaw often shuns tidy narrative conventions in favor of raw emotion.
All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the early 19th century.
Now we continue our discussion on the history and traditions of Independence Day. Sure, there are parades and John Philip Sousa marches, but for many Americans, the grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are as important as the fireworks. Historian Kenneth C. Davis told us earlier that Fourth of July celebrations began in 1776, but the foods we now consider traditional didn't arrive until much later.
More than any other day of the year, the Fourth of July is a time to take pride in American history. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks to author Kenneth C. Davis about what you shouldn't forget this Independence Day.
When Mad Men premiered in July 2007, the character of Peggy Olson was introduced to audiences as Don Draper's naive young secretary. In the seasons that have followed, Peggy has slowly become a talented copywriter and Don's protege, meanwhile trying constantly to create a place for herself in the male-dominated world of advertising. Her development has been a centerpiece of the series.
Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy, says she has learned about the character and her growth episode by episode, script by script, just like those of us who watch the show on television.
We're at the point when Johnny Depp's dumbest whims can lead to movies costing $200 million. I imagine Depp lying in a hammock on his private island and saying, "I've always wanted to play Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows!" and it's done. Then he says, "I've always wanted to do The Lone Ranger — but as Tonto!" and it, too, gets the green light.
How did the food taste? These faces say it all. Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Meade in Virginia, August-November 1863.
Credit Timothy H. O'Sullivan / Library of Congress
<strong>On The Set Of <em>Gone With the Wind:</em></strong> If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God as my witness, I'll never eat ramrod rolls again!
Credit Fred Parish / Getty Images
Hardtack was made to last — not to taste good. Here's a re-created ration at Bushey Farm in Gettysburg, Pa.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP
<strong>At Least They Had Real Coffee: </strong>Union soldiers eat and drink in front of tents.
Credit E. & H.T. Anthony (Firm) / Library of Congress
<strong>Dig In:</strong> This nonregulation Civil War mess kit features a fork, knife, spoon, corkscrew, salt and pepper shaker, and cup enclosed in a mahogany carrying case. The typical kit was much less fancy and <a href="http://www.nwaonline.com/photos/2011/mar/06/90030/">looked more like this</a>.
War is hell, Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman is famously said to have uttered.* And the food, he might as well have added, was pretty lousy, too.
As the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg — a turning point in the Civil War — it's worth remembering that the men who fought on that Pennsylvania field did so while surviving on food that would make most of us surrender in dismay.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. If you were to paint a picture of today's contemporary music styles, it might be saturated with synthesizers and samplers that make up a, well, a very contemporary sound, very 21st-century. But there are a few musicians out there achieving the sound of today, but with the instruments of yesterday.
Last year, my husband picked up a nasty little habit — a drinking problem, if you will. Yes, he became addicted to sparkling water. All of a sudden, he was adding mineral water to my weekly grocery list and buying precious little green bottles imported from Italy every time we grabbed a sandwich.
You may not know the name Marie Duplessis, but odds are you know some stories about her. She inspired a French novel, which was turned into a successful play, several movies (including one starring Greta Garbo), a ballet and, most famously, a great Italian opera — La Traviata.
The high life catches up with pop-culture impresario Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan, right) and his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) when nudie-mag editor Tony Power (Chris Addison) introduces them to drugs.
Credit / IFC
Anna Friel (Jean Raymond) is Paul's devoted wife who, up until Paul decides to move in with his mistress, is very accepting of his swinger lifestyle.
The fourth collaboration between actor Steve Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom is much like their first: Both The Look of Love and 2002's 24 Hour Party People are antic, self-conscious film bios about impresarios on the fringes of showbiz — soft porn and punk rock, respectively. But somehow the new movie, though it doesn't skimp on the nudity, the cocaine or the Britpop, is the blander of the two.
As soon as I hear that a novel is set in a college or a university, I'm in. David Lodge, Richard Russo, Donna Tartt, Chad Harbach — they've all created campuses with an intimate, sometimes cozy feeling that offers an escape from a world that can seem terribly open-gated and impersonal. Like an Agatha Christie novel, you know right away who the characters are and where the drama will play out.
It's been a while since I've heard a distinctive new American voice in mystery fiction: That Girl With the Dragon Tattoo dame seems to have put our homegrown hard-boiled detectives in the deep freeze. The mystery news of the past few years has chiefly come out of the Land of the Midnight Sun, dominated by the late Stieg Larsson and fellow Swedes Camilla Lackberg and Hakan Nesser, as well as Norwegians Anne Holt, Karin Fossum and Jo Nesbo.
Seafood is generally considered a more healthful choice when dining out — but not if you're battering and deep-frying it and serving it up with hush puppies and onion rings.
And that is precisely why the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, have named Long John Silver's new "Big Catch" meal the worst restaurant meal in America.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child but maybe you just need a few moms and dads in your corner. Every week we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice. Today, as we broadcast from the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado we decided to talk about new ideas about how young people can make the most of their 20s.
Now we'd like to bring you the story of one young woman for whom going to school was literally an act of courage. Shabana Basij-Rasikh was six when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan. They made it illegal for girls to go to school. As a result, for years, Shabana and her sister put their lives on the line to go to a secret school in Kabul. Her persistence and bravery eventually led her to Middlebury College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2010.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we will hear the story of one young woman who literally put her life on the line to go to school. Shabana Basij-Rasikh will join us to talk about growing up under Taliban rule in Afghanistan and the work she's doing now to make sure other young Afghan women can get an education. That's in just a few minutes. But first, we are continuing our conversation with our education innovators.